Abyotawi Democracy: Neither Revolutionary nor Democratic, A Critical Review Of EPRDF's Conception of Revolutionary Democracy in Post-1991 Ethiopia

Abyotawi Democracy: Neither Revolutionary nor Democratic, A Critical Review Of EPRDF's Conception of Revolutionary Democracy in Post-1991 Ethiopia

Author: 
Bach, Jean-Nicolas
Place: 
Oxon
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Date published: 
2019
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Journal of Eastern African Studies
Source: 
Journal of Eastern African Studies Vol 13 No 4 2019 pp. 641-663
Subject: 
Abstract: 

Since 1991 and the arrival of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) into power, the Ethiopian ideologists have maintained revolutionary democracy (abyotawi democracy in Amharic) as their core doctrine. The notion inherited from the struggle (1970s-1980s) aims at legitimizing a political and economic structure which de facto implies the resilience of authoritarianism. Abyotawi democracy has been presented by EPRDF as the exact opposite of liberalism and neoliberalism. As no article dedicated to a review and engagement with EPRDF's abyotawi democracy has been written so far, this article aims at analysing this Ethiopian version of revolutionary democracy. The evolution and uses of the notion since 1991 reveal a "bricolage" that abyotawi democracy has been operating out of Leninism, Marxism, Maoism, and also liberalism. While a review of party pamphlets and official party/state discourses reveals the degree to which revolutionary democracy has become an ambiguous doctrine vis-à-vis "liberalism", the doctrine remains powerful as a fighting tool to exclude internal and external "enemies".

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CITATION: Bach, Jean-Nicolas. Abyotawi Democracy: Neither Revolutionary nor Democratic, A Critical Review Of EPRDF's Conception of Revolutionary Democracy in Post-1991 Ethiopia . Oxon : Taylor & Francis Group , 2019. Journal of Eastern African Studies Vol 13 No 4 2019 pp. 641-663 - Available at: http://library.au.int/abyotawi-democracy-neither-revolutionary-nor-democratic-critical-review-eprdfs-conception